Isle of Harris resident Matilda Lomas (28) has been named the overall winner of the YouthLink Youth Worker of the Year Awards in recognition of her efforts reviving Girlguiding in the local area.
Matilda took the top of award for Community-based Youth Work at the annual awards ceremony held in Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday (15 March) before being voted the overall winner by attendees.
She was presented with her award by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
After moving to the Isle of Harris in 2013, Matilda has worked tirelessly to revive Girlguiding in the area and give girls the chance to join in the fun and adventure of Girlguiding Scotland.
When her first Guide and Senior Section units proved a hit with local girls Matilda went onto start up Rainbow and Brownie units, involving the older Senior Section members as Young Leaders.
Girlguiding is now a thriving part of the Harris community, carrying out social action projects cleaning their local beach to collecting supplies for their local foodbank and reporting to the UN.
In addition to empowering girls to be a force for good in their communities, Matilda also encourages girls to take on new challenges and adventures in Scotland and beyond – from supporting girls to take part in regional and national camps to leading a group of girls on Girlguiding Scotland’s first ever international service project to Lesotho in Africa.
Commenting on receiving her award from John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary, Matilda spoke of its significance for Harris girls: “As a volunteer it’s so special to be recognised for all the time and energy we give to young people.
“I feel the work Girlguiding Scotland can do on such a small island is so valuable, especially when there are limited opportunities and few women in leading roles.
“It is particularly relevant this year, as we celebrate 100 years since the first women in the UK were given the vote.”
Moira McKenna, Girlguiding Scotland’s lead volunteer, congratulated Matilda on taking the top award saying: “Matilda Lomas is a perfect example of what Girlguiding Scotland is all about. Her dedication to creating new opportunities and empowering girls in her community shines through in everything she does.
“Having revived Girlguiding in Harris, the Rainbow, Brownie and Guide units are now very much at the heart of their community, taking part in all sorts of social action projects and adventures. Matilda’s efforts have helped so many girls enjoy new experiences, learn new skills, make new friends and discover how they can be a force for good in their community and beyond.
“We’re delighted to see Matilda named overall winner of the Youth Link Youthworker of the Year Awards – she’s a true inspiration to so many girls and young women.
To find out more about how you can join in the fun and adventure of guiding – as a young member or an adult volunteer – go to www.girlguiding-scotland.org.uk/get-involved